|By Peter Whoriskey and Kendra Marr
The Obama administration will play a key role in reshaping General Motors' board of directors over the next six months, potentially giving it even greater control in the management of the storied American manufacturer.
The president's auto task force plans to consult with the company as it replaces a majority of its board, a White House official said. The board today largely consists of the current and former chiefs of major U.S. corporations such as Coca-Cola, Ernst & Young, Pfizer and Eastman Kodak. It is not known which of the 12 board members will leave.
The president said Monday that "the United States government has no interest in running GM." But in practice it is already exerting tremendous influence over it, a situation that has triggered fierce debate over how much power the government should wield over the companies that it aids.
Kent Kresa, 71, GM's new chairman, said yesterday that company officials will seek to replace a majority on the board by August, as the automaker moves to restructure operations.
"There will be continuing coordination as decisions about the leadership of the company are made," a White House official said yesterday. "Folks from the autos task force will be involved in those decisions."
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